India Women’s Hockey team trounce China in their opening Pro League match
Dragflick Newsdesk : The Indian Women’s Hockey team began their debut campaign in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2021/22 with a resounding 7 – 1 win over China in the Sultan Qaboos Complex in Muscat, Oman.
The Savita-led Indian side’s victory was sealed by goals from Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam (47’, 52’), Navneet Kaur (5’), Neha (12’), Vandana Katariya (40’), Sharmila Devi (48’) and Gurjit Kaur (50’). Deng Xue scored the solitary goal for China in the 43rd minute.
India began the match by immediately implementing their high pressing style which proved to be effective as they controlled the majority of possession as a result and played with a high tempo.
Navneet Kaur scored the first goal of the match to give India the breakthrough in the 5th minute, after she rebounded home Sharmila Devi’s initial effort which came off the post. Indian Captain and Goalkeeper Savita was called into action for the first time in the 10th minute as China attempted to make their way back into the game.
After earning their first penalty corner, China produced a shot on target which was well saved by Savita in the Indian goal. India doubled their advantage in the 12th minute through Neha, who finished from close range after Nisha’s skilful attacking foray from the left flank.
In the second quarter, India dominated possession again but the pace of the game reduced by a margin as the Indian women’s team settled into a slower rhythm to begin proceedings. The second quarter remained goalless, but India produced two good chances to go further ahead in the match.
After Lalremsiami won India’s first penalty corner midway through the quarter, Gurjit Kaur saw her drag flick saved by Chinese goalkeeper Wu Surong. Sharmila Devi had another chance in the 29th minute when she went clean through on goal one-on-one against the goalkeeper, but Wu Surong made another valiant save. India led at half time 2 – 0 with keeping majority of the possession and making more circle penetrations compared to China.
The Indian women’s team stretched their lead further after half time through a brilliant effort by Vandana Katariya in the 40th minute. After India’s fast counter attack created the opportunity, Vandana had her original shot saved by Wu Surong. She quickly got back up on her feet after losing her balance and produced a tomahawk which arrowed into the Chinese goal. China reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute through a goal scored by Deng Xue.
India then let the floodgates open with four goals coming their way in the final quarter. Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam scored the first of her penalty strokes in the 47th minute by calmly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner. A minute later, India won the ball off China up high and worked an opening into the circle, which was finished at the far post with a tap in by Sharmila Devi in the 48th minute.
Lalremsiami earned India’s second penalty stroke after showing exceptional skill and speed to beat her defender, which was converted by Gurjit Kaur as she rolled the ball into goal in the 50th minute. India won their third penalty stroke of the match in the 52nd minute, which was finished again by Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam as she nabbed a brace to end the game 7 – 1 in India’s favour.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will take on China again in the return leg tomorrow at 16:30 hrs IST.
Matches will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2, Star Sports Select 2 HD and Hotstar.